News / Science & Technology

UN: Global Warming Harms Corals Vital to Small Islands

FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
Reuters
Global warming is causing trillions of dollars of damage to coral reefs, aggravating the risks to tropical small island states as sea levels rise, according to a United Nations report released Thursday.
 
Sea levels off some western Pacific islands rose by four times the global average, with annual gains of 1.2 cms (0.5 inch) from 1993 to 2012, according to the U.N.’s Environment Program.
 
Release of the study, "Emerging Issues for Small Island Developmeng States, was timed to mark the U.N.'s World Environment Day on June 5. It came during U.N. climate change talks taking place June 4-15 in this western German city. 

Warming waters from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean are damaging reefs by killing the tiny animals whose stony skeletons form them, the report said.
 
A toll on atolls

"These 52 nations, home to over 62 million people, emit less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gasses, yet they suffer disproportionately from the climate change that global emissions cause," said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.
 
"Some islands could become uninhabitable and others are faced with the potential loss of their entire territories," the study said.

Loss of coral takes a costly economic toll, the report said. Coral reefs help protect coasts from storms, serve as nurseries for many types of fish and also attract tourists.

In Grenada, fishermen are reporting fewer and smaller "catches in areas where there once was a thriving trade," said Roland Bhola, the country's environment minister, who is participating in the talks.
 
"We have been able to associate that with the issues of climate change ... the destruction of our coral reefs and other ecosystems like mangroves,” he said.

Threatened ecosystems
 

A study last month estimated that each hectare (2.5 acres) of the world's coral reefs provided services worth $350,000 a year.
 
"Corals .. are probably the most threatened ecosystems on the planet," Robert Costanza, of the Australian National University and lead author of the study, told Reuters.
 
Some people on small islands are considering moving inland because rising sea levels are causing erosion and bringing more salt onto farmland, said Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist of UNEP.
 
"But many of them don't have places to retreat towards," she said.

Greenhouse gases blamed
 
The U.N. panel of climate scientists in March said it is at least 95 percent probable that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of a rise in average world temperatures.
 
"Addressing climate change ... is absolutely vital to the survival of small island states," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a news conference.
 
The report said small islands could shift to abundant solar and wind power to help cut fuel import bills, which are often between 5 and 20 percent of gross domestic product.
 
“We are doing what we can,” said Marshall Islands Environment Minister Tony de Brum, citing plans to invest in solar energy. His nation also has the world's largest shark sanctuary as part of efforts to protect nature, he added.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mayuyu from: Nagasaki AKB
June 07, 2014 7:12 PM
Sea leve rise 1.2cms for about 10 years, and it means 12cms for 100 years. Go away from the sea side right now ! Big 12cms TSUNAMI is coming for 100 years!

This article means that kind of things.

But, , , Do you know sea level is up and down around 100cms in one day because of tide rising?


by: Stanley from: PIttsburgh, PA
June 07, 2014 4:07 PM
Amazing. They must be pretty sure taking CO2 out of the atmosphere will fix it. Or the change is coming. IE the cool off cycle has already begun. Take a gander at ocean temperatures provide by the "unbiased" EPA data. Amazed me they actually posted it.


by: Joe from: Paris, France
June 06, 2014 6:08 PM
It's called "tectonic plate shifting." The UN deliberately ignores the second most powerful force on Earth after gravity because well, they cannot tax the Earth.

Most of these islands are actually sinking due to shifting plates (subduction), the plate basically folds under and is melted back into the Earth; rather than the sea level rising due to global warming. Just look on a plate map.


by: floyd howard jr from: Foley Al. USA
June 06, 2014 10:04 AM
Dems are trying to legislate a narrative change hurting the American people in the process! All Democrats and supporters here and abroad, are trying to flood the media with hysterical climate change & global warming alarms to take the heat off Dem candidates in the November 2014 and 2016 elections due to the train wreck of Obamacare! They shout, scream, cry, make outlandish claims and won't stop till after the elections! Poor Democrats! The tsunami cometh!


by: GuyBB from: KCMO
June 06, 2014 8:30 AM
Climate change is indeed a problem for small islands. Simply because the climate is always changing. However, the change to the name of AGW to climate change, is an incideous, and pernicious assault on truth. None of the coral reefs in existence today where alive 12,000 years ago, simply because during the Ice Age, they were hundreds of feet above sea level.

What they really mean when they say "climate change" is not the known fact, that climate is always changing, but rather the implication that it is in fact climate changed by man. Worse? These idiots have no schedule for their fearmongering, because every time they have given a timetable, they've been WRONG!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid